The volume of electronic payment transactions processed by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) saw a huge jump in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. The volume went up by 120 percent from 13.1 million in the first quarter of 2020 to 28.8 million over the same period this year, according to the GhIPSS first-quarter performance report.
The jump in the volume of transactions means that the number of people who used these electronic payment channels in the first quarter of this year more than doubled, signaling that more people are paying digitally than previously.
GhIPSS and its partners have been pushing the cash-lite agenda over the years, resulting in a year on year increase in the volume of transactions. But the growth of 120 percent is significantly higher than in previous years, an indication that many people might have turned to electronic payment channels, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main drivers of the growth are GhIPSS Instant Pay (GIP) and Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI). These two are real time payments, an indication of customers’ continuous preference for instant payment services. The GhIPSS first-quarter performance report showed that growth in the volume of MMI was up by 293 percent from 5.13 million to 20.16 million transactions, while GIP recorded a growth of 164 percent from about 1 million to 2.66 million transactions.
Other services such as cheque, ACH and e-zwich either saw marginal growth or a reduction in the volume of transactions.
Chief Executive of GhIPSS Archie Hesse said the growth showed that more and more people were moving away from cash payments to electronic payments. He acknowledged that COVID-19 played a role in the growth in volumes but expressed hope that “habits such as paying digitally would be deepened among users”.
The first quarter performance did not include GhQR transactions because the service was not available in the first quarter of 2020.
GhIPSS anticipates that with the addition of QR transactions, higher electronic payment transactions will be recorded and conversely the use of cash will be reducing. The number of merchants offering GhQR has more than doubled from less than 25,000 at the end of 2020 to over 51, 000 by the end of April this year. More than 16 institutions, including banks, electronic money issuers and Fintechs have also enabled their customers to make QR payments at various merchant locations nationwide.